Ahh, summertime: The perfect season for sipping wine and sampling food alongside the Potomac River, nestled within the confines of Old Town’s Oronoco Bay Park. And what better time than at the Vine on the Waterfront festival, now in its fifth year?
Formerly known as the Alexandria Food and Wine Festival, for the past two years the event has assumed a new name and a new location, moving from Carlyle to the waterfront after outgrowing its original location. Always a summertime treat, this year’s festival will take place on June 25 from noon to 6 p.m.
“Little by little it grew” from hundreds to thousands of attendees as the years went by, says S&B Event Management’s Paola Zambrana. This year’s event is expected to welcome 10,000 guests. “… This year we wanted to focus on being more interactive with people, bringing in more activities.”
On the docket for this year: Festival-goers can from winery to winery while listening to live music from Justin Trawick & The Common Good as well as the Allan Scott Band. Children can burn off some energy in a moon-bounce house. And along with the edible treats, artisans will be on hand to display their wares.
But the main draw is the wine itself. And Zambrana says the region’s wineries are bringing their A-games.
“Lines are ridiculous for some of the wineries, and it’s very exclusive wines that they bring. They really go all-out; they put us on their calendars” a year ahead of time, Zambrana said. “They really bring out their best for Alexandria.”
Among the featured wineries this year: James River Cellars, hailing from Richmond; Rogers Ford Farm Winery in Fauquier County; Lake Anna Winery in Spotsylvania County; and Cobbler Mountain in Delaplane.
“We’ve been very selective and very blessed that we have really good wineries signed up with us,” Zambrana said.
But Alexandrians cannot live on wine alone. The festival’s food offerings are also robust, with new neighbor Carluccio’s leading the way.
“We’re super-excited to have them on board,” Zambrana said.
Alexandria Cupcake, Fiona’s Irish Pub, the Popcorn Queens, and more will also be around to whet attendees’ appetites throughout the afternoon and evening.
Last year’s inaugural event on the Potomac was a soggy affair, but this year the event organizers are hoping the weather gods will smile down on them after a springtime of rain, Zambrana says. But just in case ….
“This year, we have a rain date,” she laughed.
Hope Nelson owns and operates the Kitchen Recessionista blog, located at www.kitchenrecessionista.com. Email her any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If You Go
Vine on the Waterfront
When: Saturday, June 25, noon-6 p.m.
Where: Oronoco Bay Park, between Pendleton and Madison streets along the Potomac River, Old Town Alexandria.
Price: $15 for eight tasting tickets in advance; $20 on the day of the event.
For more: www.vineonthewaterfront.com.